Monday, March 5, 2012


So I've been sewing little flannel squares together and I realize how woefully inaccurate I am at such work. My squares are not really squares. They are square-ish.

Sigh. My quilts always come out lopsided and they are not even anywhere near intricate. I don't do intricate. I remember a woman I knew who was an amazing quilter. Well, she probably still is. Her quilts were perfect. Not just the squares or whatever shapes she used, but the stitches, too, which she mostly did by hand. They were, in fact, works of art, but the sort of works of art that amaze but do not fascinate. They were just too perfect, if you ask me. Her whole life was like that, it seemed. Perfect from the outside, at least.

But of course no one's life is perfect. Not one person on this earth has a perfect life. But this woman- oh, she tried. And when something came along to upset her notion of the perfection of her life, it threw her into a tizzy of anxiety and fear. She followed the rules, believe me. The rules of quilting and cooking and rose-gardening and being a wife and a mother and of her religion, too. If any of these rules proved inadequate, she would find a reason to believe that it wasn't the fault of the rules- she had obviously done something wrong herself. Not followed them correctly.
This is a lot of pressure for one mortal woman if you ask me.

And I am not that sort of person. Show me a rule and I'll show you why it shouldn't be followed. Why it's absurd. And of course, that kind of thinking is just as wrong-thinking as the opposite. Some rules are good and should be followed. I think that I have always had a belief that I am beyond the rules which even I don't really believe. Not for real and true. But I do think that a lot of rules are ridiculous and no, I won't follow them, even if that means my quilts are messy.

Well, my quilts are warm. And soft. And that's good enough for me.

They have recently tried to legislate prayer back in school here in Florida. They are calling it "inspirational messages." One legislator even said that it was when prayer in school was disallowed that everything began to fall apart.
I laughed when I read that. When I was in school, every morning began with someone coming on the intercom and praying a prayer. The Lord's Prayer mostly. It annoyed me, even as a child. Even then, at that young age, I knew that a prayer said in such a formulaic way was ridiculous. What sort of a god would want to hear those same words over and over and over again every day? And what good did it do?
Not much in my mind.
And thus, that prayer in school was the beginning of my deep suspicion of organized religion and all of its rules and regulations and rote prayers. It was, in fact, the beginning of my questioning of any sort of authority. Yep. Quite frankly, I think it was.
Or part of it, anyway. Which may be why I took so naturally to being a hippie which was mostly about questioning authority which in the days of Nixon was just too easy. I mean- Richard Nixon? The Viet Nam War? And oh, don't you know that there was such a huge backlash against all of this authority-questioning? If it wasn't that damn devil music, Rock and Roll, that was ruining this country, it was those damn Commies. Well, Commies got blamed for almost everything, including influencing our fine young people and turning them into dirty pot-smokin' hippies but truth be told, the Commies had nothing to do with it. It was more like Nixon and George Wallace and okay, yes, the Beatles. (Thank you, Beatles.)
The problem was, too many young people suddenly took note of a whole lot of stuff and the people in charge of that stuff and the rules they made about that stuff and said, "Whoa now. Wait a minute. Why CAN'T black folks eat in restaurants with white folks? Why SHOULDN'T women make the same wage as a man if they do the same job? Why DO women get drugged and shaved and tied down to have a baby? Why DO men have to cut their hair down to their scalps? Who SAYS that if we don't fight the Communists in Southeast Asia we'll have to fight them here?" And of course, "What the FUCK does it mean that Wonder Bread builds bodies twelve ways?"

Lord, we had a long list of things we could question.

And a lot of things changed.

But it seems to me that things are getting turned around again. Women are in danger of losing control of their rights at a confusing and blinding speed. Religion is being re-instituted in places where it shouldn't be. People who come to this country to find work and a place to live in peace are being hounded and prosecuted, arrested and deported. And of course, fabulously rich white men are large and in charge with the miraculous exception of President Obama.

I don't know. Rules. I'm just thinking about rules and the ones that are made by the people in power and the ones we just accept as true even if there is no basis for it.

Now- in quilting, I will freely admit that rules AND rulers can come in handy. Rules can come in handy when baking or when designing roads or even when planting a garden. Yes. They can. But, there are quilts and then there are quilts. Crazy quilts, for instance. There are baked goods and then there are baked goods. The making of a good angel food cake will require some following of the rules but the making of a good apple cake is a lot more tolerant of ignoring them.

I think it's just common sense. You can't legislate human behavior. You can't tell one entire sex that their bodies aren't as much THEIRS to control as the other sex. You can't keep on using fossil fuels like there's no tomorrow and expect them to last forever. You can't keep raping the planet and keep on expecting it to forgive you. And dammit, you can't tell kids that if they pray they'll end up better people. It's just simply not the truth.

I follow the speed limit. I pay my taxes. I don't plant my tomatoes until the pecans have started to leaf.
I know (or at least think) that in the end, the love I make will be equal to the love I take.

Now if I could just learn to cut out squares.

All right. That's all. For now.

Yours truly...Ms. Moon The Old Hippie


  1. I am not that sort of person either, the one who is stuck on rules. From one old hippie to another, watcha gonna do?

  2. This put a smile on my face for so many reasons. Perfect quilters = tight sphincters. Sorry, but it's true. :)

  3. i celebrate imperfection!

    sadly, 'common sense' is not all that common, or maybe it is. but there are a few bad apples that give us all a bad rap. oh well. same as it ever was.

  4. Yes! Thanks for writing that, Mama.
    I read a comment yesterday on facebook from someone I know who is all for religion in school and totally against teaching kids about homosexuality and evolution and other science things. Her comment made me so upset, because this woman is a sweet individual and it makes me physically hurt to know she is hateful in some ways. Religion can mess up a ton of common sense feelings and thoughts.

    I love your hippie self.

  5. From one old hippie chick to another, you rock Ms Moon!!!!

    That is so true what you said about rules. Some are good and best to be followed and some just scream to be broken. And it is so much fun to break those ones (I know that isn't proper english...but it works. See! I broke a rule :)

  6. I just like that you have the patience to even try to quilt. I only sleep under them or admire them at festivals. Otherwise, that's it.

  7. You just gave me a memory!! I love when that happens.
    Gr6? Chanting that silly old British rules thing as a Canadian in an assembly. Refused to stand or say it. Ha!
    I am part hippie. Who knew.

  8. Great blog, MerMer.

    Rules? Only one rule, really.

    Be kind.

  9. I love Lo.

    And I've always had a problem with authority, too. I prefer to look at it as iconoclasm.

    The prayer in schools thing? I always wonder why everyone gets so hung up about that -- it's all about fear, I think. Fear of The Other. Fear of the Unknown. Fear of Change. It's really weird, too, because if you truly had faith, had a sense of the divine in everything, you wouldn't be afraid.

  10. Every time I read about that Virginia legislature and vaginal probes, I think that the Taliban can pop up anywhere in the world, that women-hating mentality.

    Your rants resonate with me, Ms Moon.

  11. Perfect squares are for squares! Which you are not. :)

    I'm pretty precise about many things (I'm a double Virgo, don't blame me) but even I struggle to cut just right. They seem right but then when I start stitching the quilt top together I find so many problems ... which I just work around. As I'm sure you do. My quilts will never win any contest, but I love 'em nonetheless. Many of my very favorite people are amazing quilters, and I can just appreciate them.

  12. My great grandma's quilt she made me, when I was a wee pickle in the jar, is on my bed right now. It's warm and soft. I've never checked to see if it was square.
    Some rules matter; some don't. Knowing how to differentiate is tough, and sometimes unnecessary.

  13. I wish that more people thought like you, or actually thought instead of listening to the right wing nuts formulate their thoughts and questions for them. The thrusting of religion back into our lives by the sanctimonious is disturbing and wrong. Trying to legislate their form of mortality is wrong. I am so tired of the lies spread about the President. I am sick of the hatred. Where did the free thinking questioners go? I hope that they are out there and haven't trading their bell bottoms for suits, their vans for SUV's.

  14. Exactly!

    When I hear 'inspirational messages', I think of the old SNL "Deep Thoughts, by Jack Handy" bit:

    You seem the type to make a beautiful crazy quilt. That's what hippie grandmas did back in the 1800's, wasn't it? Patch their prettiest stuff together in a cacaphony of color and spirit. That's you, Ms. Moon. You will not be tamed.

  15. A friend of mine is very close to perfect with close to the perfect life. Many of us say that if we weren't all Christians, we'd have to hate her.;)

  16. Rules cry out to be tested, questioned, and ignored. They are often claustrophobic. And they often serve to protect the status quo which is not always right.

    Rules might work for a time, but need to be revisited often. Blaming the breakdown of society on the lack of prayer in schools is rather simplistic. A generation opposed to hypocrisy is right to expose it. Unfortunately, things rather fall apart if there is not an agreed upon standard of conduct. I think the hypocritical was once done with a wink and a nudge.


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